Brookfield site adding 24,000 square feet, including larger chapel
Brookfield- Joseph Becker remembers when, as a teenager in the 1950s, he helped to move his grandfather's funeral home business.
Now Becker is making a move of his own in the same line of work—a move to expand at his current site at 14075 W. North Ave.
Becker, the third generation in his family to operate a funeral home in the area, is in the midst of a project that will make Becker Ritter Funeral Home one of largest funeral homes in the state.
Ground was broken last August on a 24,000-square-foot addition to the existing building. It will house a new, 300-seat chapel, with a 3-foot peaked ceiling, indoor balcony and choir loft. The existing chapel can seat up to 150 people.
Becker, who opened the Brookfield site in 1974, said the expansion would make it possible to provide more and better services to families.
The addition also will contain a kitchen for caterers, a rotunda room with a 14-foot dome ceiling, an outdoor courtyard highlighted by a water fountain and an outdoor eating area.
"There is an ambience I think we will be able to achieve in this building," said Becker. "It will be more than brick and mortar. There will be an inspirational and uplifting sense here."
The Becker Ritter Funeral Home earned the Brookfield Development Economic Development Committee's Featured Business Program award in August for showing commitment to employees, investing in training and retraining, profitable growth, innovation, and commitment to the city.
City economic development coordinator Kathleen Cady said the addition shows a commitment to the city and its residents.
"This (expansion) shows that one of our businesses in the community is continuing to grow, and it shows the people in Brookfield that they are committed to providing a needed service," Cady said.
"Becker Ritter really tried to personalize the services," she said. "They try to do things that are different."
The addition is scheduled for completion in August.
Currently, Becker Ritter can conduct two funeral services simultaneously. The addition will provide enough space to conduct as many as five services at the same time.
Becker said the added rooms would give people more options when planning a funeral.
"Whatever people want, we will have the room and the facilities to provide them with options," said Becker.
Parking also will be expanded from about 60 to 120 stalls.
City planning director Daniel Ertl said the addition retains the English Tudor-style construction visible in the existing facility.
"They felt that expansion was needed to provide the level of service in terms of funeral service to the next generation of families in Brookfield," Ertl said.